A Woman’s Touch

Set designers do it all the time. Read the play or screenplay. Set the scene. An older couple might be in an original craftsman-style place with wallpaper and draperies. Young hipsters might be on the beach in an avant-garde window-filled home with modern art.

When one looks for a home, rural, suburbia, city living one generally knows the difference between a “man cave” and even an apartment lived in by a couple.

There is framed art on the walls, whether it be photographs or quilts or whatever. There is kitchen equipment. The place looks “lived in” in a good way, like a couple or a family enjoyed life there and got a new job and has to move, or need a bigger place for family.

There is also the question of location. When I met my husband he was on the first floor and his windows looked out on the back of the mailboxes and a parking lot. He kept black shades closed all the time, built a computer (dual-brained, no-one did that back in the day) and worked in his underwear. He drank Dr. Pepper and ate individually wrapped string cheese. I know because the wrappers went from the frig to the computer, dual huge (for the time) monitors as well.

In the frig was said cheese and one 72 oz. Dr. Pepper from a convenience store and the freezer contained one box of lasagna purchased by his mother, visiting from afar, three months earlier.

Aside from the computer, resting on file cabinets on an old door, he had a used barcalounger chair. The bedroom hosted a mattress on the floor, and his only towel was a thin beach towel with Scooby Doo on it. Laundry method was clean pile, dirty pile. I organized everything as he moved away three weeks later. After he left I even paid to get a maid in so he could get his security deposit back. He came back after giving the barcalounger to his neighbor. Neighbor asked why he came back after two weeks? Her.

It’s a little different now. I moved in a partial kitchen and an office to the new place I found him while dog-walking. Years, cities, countries later we have a dining room, living room and lovely bedroom. I’ve had nearly everything we enjoy framed, great photos, art my father started painting at age 80, and one of mine in crayon (Wizard of Oz) at age five that is his favorite. Great choices, single, double and triple matting. Quilts, one from his mother, after a few visits we finally agreed on a seasonal quilt. There’s also a beautiful quilt a few feet behind me from a great great great grandma (his) of flowers in a hexagonal pattern.

Viewers of the old quilt ask where it came from. Apparently the quilter began suffering from dementia. Whereas everything was pristine, beautifully sewn and orchestrated, there are two unusual “flowers” on the edges. That’s what I tell people about how we met. We had to work our individual ways through perfection, to be together.

There is no longer a man cave, we always have a view, a fully-appointed home and precious (at least to us) things on the walls. No more string cheese. Hubby now chooses between four-year and five-year cheddar. I’m a great cook and he critiques my recipes! This from a guy who ate burgers every day….. Dee

p.s. We even have matching towels for each bath, including a set for the dog! And somehow laundry/drycleaning magically shows up in his dresser and closet daily. No more clean/dirty piles. I match our socks and even wash them in cold water and hang them to dry. D


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